How to design an open plan living space | Victorian Family Home, Hertforshire


We recently designed, manufactured and installed a kitchen at a beautiful Victorian house in Hertfordshire that has been really thoughtfully restored and renovated to create an incredible family home. This property is a beautifully proportioned Victorian gentleman’s residence which has plenty of charm, character and now, post-renovation, it has a stunning open plan kitchen, dining and living space.

The open plan living and dining areas were designed by Cherie Lee Interiors an interior design consultancy based in Hertfordshire and London. Their interior projects blend classic, period features with contemporary, modern styling. With an impressive portfolio of specialist listed and conservation buildings across the Home Counties and London,  Cherie works on a broad range of properties, including new build and commercial premises.

We featured a Q&A with Cherie herself on the HM blog in December 2017 and you can take a look here to find out her favourite interior brands as well as tips on blending classic and contemporary styles seamlessly. Last week we caught up with her on Friday to get the low down on how to plan the ultimate open plan living space…

What was the client’s brief for the space?

The open plan kitchen/dining/living space was originally two rooms and our clients were very clear that they wanted to achieve an open plan living configuration. Once we decided that the dividing wall was to be removed, the next most important factor was to achieve a stylish but comfortable and lived in scheme that had to include informal and playful elements for their three young children. As is often requested in our designs, it was also essential to balance period character with modern design.

We added the wood burning stove and a reclaimed brick slip wall to help to achieve comfort and warmth, and modern glazing elements to really integrate the mix of old and new into the fabric of the building, rather than just with fixtures and fittings. The furniture and soft furnishings combine great British comfort with a Scandi edge.

What do you love the most about this open plan space?

There is a lot to love about this room but the section with bespoke armchair, traditional log burner and the frameless envelope window behind really works for me. It is such a lovely contrast and instantly makes me want to sit down and take 5 minutes with a book or magazine. The client’s had envisaged a corner sofa in this area but after much pleading from me, they went for the fireside armchair. The feedback is that it is also their favourite spot in the house.

What is your starting point for an open plan kitchen / dining / living area?

I think the starting point is being clear on the overall look and feel that you want to achieve and zoning your areas. The concept for the room will help to dictate the kitchen style, which I would say is the next major step in designing an open plan space like this.

In this particular scheme, the warmth and mix of traditional and contemporary in the HM kitchen was perfect and important in tying our vision for the room together.

To see more of Cherie’s work please visit her website here.

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